The New Exhibition Room folks embrace the realm of the bizarre with their undead double feature, THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE IS HERE (at the Boston Playwrights Theatre through August 25th). Fans of zombie cult movies will recognize the “whatever you do, don’t go outside” and the “you didn’t lock the door?” motifs---but that’s not the surprise in this APOCALYPSE. They seem to be channeling Russ Meyer as well as George Romero. For a minute I thought I was at a Gold Dust Orphans show.
Evidently zombies like sex, in all its permutations. Zombies can even procreate. And a zombie delivery (oh yes, stirrups and all) can be mighty dicey. The characters lurch their way through the lamest of zombie plots (penned by Dawn Simmons and Nora Long), succumbing one by one. Some even win your heart. Terrance Haddad’s zombie has lost power of speech but his chirps and whines and uncoordinated moves are so delightful, he wins the heart of fellow creature Hannah Husband. (She elevates donning a shoe to an art form.)
Speaking of art, Jackie Frances sits in a back corner of the stage (it’s a shame it isn’t the front corner) working on a painting while the blood bath rages. It’s too bad we don’t see the completed work at curtain call. (More of Frances’ intricate creations hang in the lobby.) The New Exhibition troupe likes mixing art forms so we’re also treated to some lovely rock ballads by Michael Glashow, as counterpoint to the mayhem.
Even stage manager Dierdre Benson becomes part of the show, echoing our inner thoughts about the air conditioning as she exits grumbling, to remedy the blackout on stage. As it turns out, art mirrors life in this case. All of Allston, starting one block away from the BPT, lost their electricity earlier in the day. Driving home through dark streets, past closed businesses and no pedestrians was certainly spooky. (I kept a watchful eye for zombies.)
Omar Robinson has a field day in Simmons’ piece as a cop who’s been bitten but is resisting the zombie transformation with all his might…and he gets to strut in his hilarious dancing shoes (in flashback) in Long’s play. Lyndsay Allyn Cox's character cannot bring herself to dispatch her bitten beloved, as is the practice preached by a diabolically randy minister played by Bryan Daley.
What, Allyn Cox wonders, will be the fate of her unborn, perhaps undead, baby? Should she have an abortion? Will the state (Bob Mussett, all “up in her business”) allow it? You get the gist or rather the grist for the zombie mill (and there is one on stage!) Yuck! Ewwww! Need I say more?